Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Prayer

New Years Prayer:
Lord, as this New Year opens before us: Teach us how to love more fully. May our hearts walk more humbly, may our lives be yours more completely, may our passion for You be ignited more strongly, may our hope be more placed in You, may our fears be less strong, may we cease to believe lies, may we put others before ourselves, may we follow you no matter the course, may we find o...ur joy in You, may we be less selfish, may we worship more freely, may we serve more willingly, may we share more easily, may we study more thoroughly, may we pray more without ceasing, may we forsake the worlds offers, and may we become more holy, and become more filled more with Your Holy Spirit. This year Lord, May we become more yours, and less full of of pride…Lord, this year may we become more like You.
For over every selfcentered resolution we may have, and over every hope for the accomplishments ahead, may we instead desire most deeply to be more like You.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Choice: When Passions Go Dim and Hearts Grow Cold Part 1

There's a lot of different choices we can make in life; but this blog post is particularly about a 'certain' choice....
I find it rather strange how sometimes I go to do something that I've done a trillion times, and then one day I'm suddenly faced with vast complications. I'm continually discovering that I really have a lot to learn...
Just when you may think you have learned what you need in order to succeed, you are faced with a hindrance. There are two ways you can respond 1. Panic: Give Up, and believe that life is just to hard, and that you will never succeed 2. Face it: Keep moving forward, take the chance to learn, and believe that you can progress! Life takes courage. We have to keep up our stamina, not only physically but mentally and spiritually.

I'd like to give a few examples of this; First of all, I have this scripture that keeps entering my mind and that is "Do not be surprised at this fiery trial, as if something strange were happening to you". I know that it had a particular meaning in 1 Peter 4:12 about not being surprised if you suffer for Christ, and I don't want to do the verse injustice, but I feel that it relates also to this topic. I think a lot of times, when things are going fine, we do what we need to do, we go about our daily routine, and then one morning we are faced with some strange hindrance.

 For a 'physical example'; I've been singing for a very young age. I never took singing lessons, but I did take music lessons growing up and got a few tips from my teachers, and they encouraged me to project more, and helped me improve my vocals. Well, ever since I've been writing songs, and playing them with instruments and singing away. Until one day recently, I woke up, I went to the piano, try to sing one of my songs, and oddly I become quite aware of my lack of breath. And so I start to practice breathing more, and then I begin to not be able to breathe, and then my voice seems to disintegrate. To top it off my Mom notices and this makes it all the worse, as I'm trying my hardest to be able to sing, more than ever before, and yet it sounded like I was just squeaking out the lyrics.

 Horrid days...The panic strikes. Of course this isn't 'all' that presided my sudden lose of vocal'ity. First was the fact that I'm going to get a CD recorded of my songs in January. I was rather excited and anxious about it, because I have waited for this for a very long time. I've been wanting to do it for years. So this adds to the horror of my sudden 'reason for panic'.
Fact number two, is before I suddenly became aware of what I thought to be 'shallow breathing' I felt passionless spiritually. I suppose my 'reason' for singing wasn't exactly grounded in what it had before. Yet after all my preparation for this time in my life, when I could actually get a CD recorded of my songs; how could it be that suddenly my passion isn't as strong? ...As I type this I shiver inside. (this may have something to do with the weather ) but really I don't feel all that cold.

Perhaps it is because I'm opening the hatch on some truths that personally need to penetrate my life ... Because really; In this life we have to fight for what we 'have' in order to keep it, and we have to be willing to step out in bravery to receive and accomplish what it is that we haven't attained. At this moment I think of Pilgrim's Progress. I haven't read the book in years. But perhaps now would not be a bad time to pick it up. Right now, if I could easily sketch it, I would draw the picture of a man fighting to protect what He has, and daring forward to attain what He does not. When I think of the title of the book I just mentioned, "Pilgrim's... 'Progress'" It reminds me that life is process; of growth, of learning, of fighting...It helps for me to think of my name before 'progress' as the title of my story. In reality, we all live a story much like that of Pilgrim's Progress inside our souls

. We all have a choice when we are tried or face obstacles, either to: 1. Panic: Give Up, believe that life is just too hard, or that we will never succeed 2. Face it: Keep moving forward, take the opportunity to learn, and believe that we can 'progress'!

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you".... ~ 1 Peter 4:12

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ~ 1 Peter 5:8,9

This is really in the spiritual sense...I believe though that in life most all of our 'passionlessness', 'doubt' is spiritually connected. Satan doesn't want us to succeed, or be vessels for the Lord's work. He does not want us to be passionate about Christ and the Gospel. Not only does He not want us to be 'on fire' for our God, but he wants us to give up on life. Our fleshes are pretty weak. We give up quickly. At the first sign of hardship, we sit down and pout. We want the finished product, we want the finish line, we want the easy way up and out. Physically, Mentally, Spiritually we can be pretty weak.

We need to do all things unto the glory of God. If we give our all, in no matter what we do, we are an example to others of someone who 'doesn't slack' and for some reason even non-christans and most all mankind has this respect for those who no matter the odds, 'go hard' and 'accomplish the goal'. I'm sure you've also heard it said "The harder the goal, the more rewarding the triumph"....Sometimes I see myself in the place Pilgrim was when he laid on the dungeon floor in the Giant's castle. Hopeless; because I fail to believe that I can make it out and make it to my destination. I don't really think this so much in the big picture of reaching the Kingdom, but in terms of accomplishing somewhat smaller goals, in various areas, some of which are particularly God centered, others of which are work for others, and even things I must pull through in doing for my own good. But you know, all along I have the key to opening the giant's dungeon door.

Whenever I lay there motionless on the floor of the cell that (either the work of Satan has formed, or a dungeon I have made for myself), I have the key all along. God gave it to me at the cross. And there are sometimes, I must admit, that we can't do things or accomplish things, even if we are re lit with the courage or the 'passion'. Some things can only be accomplished by surrendering to God, and calling out on Him to be our rescue.

He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youth will become exhausted, and young men will give up. "But those who wait on the Lord, He will renew their strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40: 30-31

There are times when we are without passion, and we can't seem to make ourselves 'feel' anything. Whether mentally, physically, spiritually, or all of the above. There are times when our hearts feel cold, and our desire to move ahead dead. There are some obstacles that we are tired of dealing with, there are those times when all we hope for is the end, but don't know how to get to the destination. We need to not only keep our eyes on the goal, our hearts a fire with love and passion for that which is beyond the finish line, but we must learn how to 'run the race', 'progress', 'learn', 'grow'.

Sometimes our eyes can be so set on having what's ahead that we do not learn how to embrace the opportunities for growth. We do not have open hearts towards learning, only obtaining, completing, or accomplishing. The true prize, is what we have learned in life. What really makes up our prize is not that we ran an easy race, without hindrances, but that we learned how to be victorious through, and over the hurdles. We must cultivate a passion and a patience, for learning. There is no 'success', if there is no 'growth'.

 We cannot expect to be perfect, or all knowing, in anything we do, whether in physical ways, knowledge, or in the way of the spiritual without refining, or without taking those hindrances ( learning opportunities) and not only enduring them, but taking the step into learning from them. You may be thinking; I can't do this on my own, I just don't always have the stamina, or the passion. And you are right. There are times when this comes down to 'You' and your choice, whether or not you will take the oportunities around, or sit and pout and wish things were completed by the blink of an eye. If you choose the second of the two, You will one day realize that you never get anywhere by sitting and wishing, only by putting a foot in front of the other.

 And then there is that second synario; where you've tried but you just can't seem to conjur the motivation to move ahead. And no matter what you may be facing, I would encourage you by saying the best you can do is to 1. Remember what it is that you desire 2. Rekindle or let your desire and/or (love) for it be re lit 3. Ask the Lord to give you the stamina/strength you need to do what you need to do and to glory Him with it. But I realize that in my life so far, that the best things I can do are those which God motivates in me. I realize that on my own things are harder to accomplish, even if they are goals that aren't exactly that of ministry, or Christ-centeredness. Of course I want to have a balance in that I want to give my all in everything I do. But most importantly, I have discovered that God's motivation, and the passion that comes from a relationship with Him is the most fulfilling and most meaningful. I am of little worth without Him.

 So, If you and I can make the right choice to: 1. Not to give up, Face whatever it is that blocks the way. Keep moving forward, take the chance to Learn, and believe that wecan progress; if we do this in the things for ourselves, we will do ourselves a big favor, if we do this in our spiritual walk we will not only do ourselves a favor, we make it possible for the Lord to continue to use us and bless others through us.

So when passions grow dim, and when your heart seems cold; when the choice stands before you; Choose the way of the Victorious. Don't give up, Keep the Fiath, Don't be lazy, Keep your mind open to learning, and Keep Christ first...You will go far this way.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Discovering God....

So this title for a book popped into my head and onto paper. I don't know whether or not it was inspired by something I've read or what, but I think it would be a great name for a new book ;)

"Discovering God amidst a world of Doubt, Apathy, and Disillusion."

 So...maybe I'll start blogging for this.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Courage to Change: Jesus is Your 'Friend'

Friendship is wonderful. There is really nothing to be compared with it. Friendship is special.

People motivate us in many ways....and for me, Friendship...It's a big motivator.
I suppose most of us understand the feeling of donating either time, money, attention, care, on someone other than ourselves. Perhaps you are the the kind of person that gives even more, who dons love, and the qualities that love produces such as compassion, long suffering, patience, and servitude...

How are you motivated by friendship? Everyone wants a good friend. Someone they call talk to about the matters of their heart, and feel safe with. Someone they can laugh with as well as cry with. Someone they can be serious with, and yet be silly with. Someone to whom they can be themselves around, and will love them for who they are. Someone who they can love, make happy, and lend a hand to as well. As much as everyone wants someone who will love 'them'...I believe deep down inside, everyone wants someone whom they can 'love', and 'give' to. Someone they can give of themselves to. Of course there are those who are more on 'wanting to be given to' side, and then there are those who lean more to the 'wanting to give' side. But both are ends of the same string.
Love ignites more Love. When you love someone, they almost can't help but love you back. Maybe not  always to the same degree, but 'Love' does stir something in most anybody. You love them them become more confident, more encouraged...Love is what makes Friendship even more special than just having common interests. Love makes friendships last.

Personally, I think that most of the horrible friendship breakups are because there was a lack of love  somewhere in the equation. Although there are circumstances where people change, or friends drift into different relationships with each other, some beneficial, some not. Some friends remain walking with you the same pace, the same path. They are like life long friends. There are those that pop out, and then pop back in, because although they may not be 'extremely close' they do still consider you a friend and care about you. Life is busy that's all.

There are different types of so called "friendships" that people create to be sure. But a true friend is really someone who cares about you, shares with you, and prays for you. A true Friend is someone you can count on, someone who is faithful. Friendship is a broad topic, so much can be mentioned. So much can be discussed. Good friendships, Bad 'friendships...It could fit in several blog posts to be sure.

By now this might not seem to par with what I've been mentioning but, I have this question, and it is this: 'How much do you dedicate, donate, give, to those you love?' Your: "Friends".
Sometimes I feel like we can get to carried away with friends (other people) and our relationships with them, that they become like idols. Have you ever considered how much time and thought you give to friends? Don't get me wrong, friendships are good, and they are necessary...but sometimes they get out of hand. They consume us. We begin to give too much to other people, the time we should be giving to Christ perhaps? We let other people determine our level of joy. This is not how God would have it. Other People are a big happiness factor...but they should never determine our "Joy" before Christ.

 If some relationship, some friendship you are in, has caused you to take your eyes off of Christ, and/or has stolen your should probably reconsider the direction of the relationship...
Joy and Liberty are two things that we should never consider as things we get by other people. Joy and Liberty have both already been bought for us, by the blood of Christ. He has died for us, and He has risen for us. We are to be Joyful, and derive our joy from the Lord...we must not let the enemy dampen it. Liberty is what we have by Christ, we are free in Him! we must not let others determine our liberty. Yes, there are times when the Christian is held captive, but in his heart, his is free, and he must still shine the light of the Lord.
You may wonder; "What is wrong with putting so much into a friend?" After all, everyone needs someone to give to, and someone who will give back". Yes true...But when it gets overboard is when your best friend, the one you love the most, are willing to give the most to, is not Jesus Christ but _____________.

Jesus wants to be Your Best Friend. No one else is as Faithful as Him. No one else is more loving, more caring, more compassionate then Him. No one else has given so much for you, and no one else likes you better for who you are. There is no one else who sees You like He sees you. There is no one else who hopes the best for you like He does. And there is no one else who will do for You what He can and will do for you. Why? Because Jesus is the Ultimate Friend. Not only because He 'can' be, but because 'He' is. In his heart there is not yesterday, but today...for If you desire him, every day you are in the best of friendships.

The best thing is, Jesus is the same...yesterday, today, and forever. His love for you is strong, and not changing with the tide. He desires you, He wants you, and He welcome you. I can't say I'm not doing my own changing, because that wouldn't be honest. That last part especially, that Christ is welcoming me to draw near to Him is a different concept. He is not hiding for me to find Him, not locking the door, and giving me a treasure map instead...but He is always present.

There is more to being Friends with God than what our human understanding tells us. I've been thinking that in order to get closer with God, I must do certain things. And I know some of these things would be beneficial, but God is calling each of us to give our love to Him, in the ways that we individually show it. Not everyone gives gifts to show that they are thinking about someone, or they love them. Some do. But just because someone doesn't always give gifts doesn't mean that they love less, they may just have another way of giving their love. As long as they do.

Some people give creative gifts to God to pour out their love for Him. They write songs, they play instruments, kind of like King David...some paint pictures...some do not creatively show their love for the Lord. This does not mean they love the Lord less....Now, there is truth that not everybody knows how to be a true friend to the same such a way, not everybody has the same relationship with the Lord. We all differ.

 But the fact is, no matter who we be, we need to be focusing on God more. We need to make Him the center of our Universe. We need to sweep our the other cares, and the idols we place before him, we need to set Christ back where He should, and wants to go. He loved you first. Remember that. And so it is, we love others, 'because', he first loved us.

Lord, I pray that we would care deeply about others, and be true friends. Show us what friendship really means. But teach us not to let friendships determine our livelyhood. May be remember that it is by You that we move, live, and have our being. I know that you want us to care for others, so that we may make differences in their lives. And I know that you search all hearts. But, Lord I just pray that we would draw even closer to You. That we would be in awe of You. That we would look at Your sacrifice on the cross, and we would look to your ressurection, and would realize that that is what should motivate us the strongest of all.

Forgive us for when we are destracted. Lord, I know that you realize, even more than I realize right now that we are not yet face to face. And until that day, we are not so close as to touch your hands your day we will be face to face, one day you will walk with us, talk with us, and we will hear your voice like running waters, and run into your arms, and let you swing us around. We do not have that yet.

You know that we are yet awaiting that. You are awaiting your bride groom. You are awaiting your dear friends. Until that day Father I pray we would keep prospective. You would teach us how to have a friendship with You, and realize that you truly are our friend. For there is a Friend closer and truer....and It is You.